UPDATED 7:37 AM PT — Wednesday, March 20, 2019
California is taking a cue from President Trump as the state begins massive efforts to clear out trees and other vegetation before fire season starts.
Firefighters are laying the ground work as they prepare to be joined by a hundred National Guard service members next month, who have been pulled from the southern border to help.
The troops will receive training in forest management before they are sent out to clear dead trees, brush, and debris to create fuel breaks.
Fire officials said this will slow the spread of future fires by limiting the amount of dry kindling, which is on the ground.
“What we’re doing is we’re treating the ridge line by reducing the impact a fire might have if it started below us or on the other side of the ridge from us here,” explained Cal Fire Battalion . “It buys us time to be able to get people up here to fight the fire, it buys the residents that live up here an opportunity to get out.”
The National Guard members will be split into five different groups after training to assist in fire prevention efforts across the state.
Following last year’s fire in Paradise that killed 85 people, President Trump blamed “gross mismanagement” of the state’s forests for the deaths he claimed were preventable.